Fosters Donate $5,000 to East Texas War and Memory Project

Rick and Sharon Foster from Wylie, TX donated $5,000 to the East Texas War and Memory Project on June 21. This was the first donation the ETWMP has received. “I think we all need to learn the stories of veterans firsthand,” said Rick Foster. “These veterans devoted themselves to a people they didn’t know, but to a cause they understood. Their stories need to be documented in order to be reminded of how grateful we are for their service and their lives.” The Fosters decided to donate after hearing about the project from their son, Dr. Eric Gruver, Director of the ETWMP and Director of Honors Advising at Texas A&M University-Commerce. “We saw the energy that Eric and the students had about the project, and it was contagious,” said Foster. “We decided to donate to the project because we realized this was a good opportunity for the students, and a good opportunity for the veterans to have their stories heard. Each day closes a window of opportunity to talk to the veterans and see the impact the wars had on them and their families.” The funds donated by the Fosters will be used to assist the interns of the War and Memory Project when traveling long distances to interview veterans. “My parents’ donation to the East Texas War and Memory Project illustrates their appreciation of and investment in my aspirations and the interns’ achievements,” said Dr. Gruver. “Many veterans are unable to travel extended distances, so the funds will cover expenses associated with traveling to the veterans’ locations. Every veteran deserves an opportunity to tell his or her story, and we hope additional donations will allow us to engage with more veterans.” The East Texas War and Memory Project focuses on collecting and preserving oral histories of veterans, their families, and others who experienced the effects of war. Six students, working as interns to conduct the oral history interviews and provide a condensed summary version to be uploaded to the university’s archives online, helped establish the Project: Hayley Hasik, senior, History/English double major; Travis Ueckert, senior, History/English double major; Courtney Crumpton, sophomore, Sociology/History double major; Jackson Dailey, sophomore, History major; Jacob Ham, sophomore, History major; and, Kyle Hackney, junior, Human Performance major. Under the direction of Dr. Gruver, and in collaboration with Andrea Weddle, University Archivist, along with many others, the Project now includes 14 student-interns. These students are taking transcripted quotes from the interviews and creating contextualized narrative stories as a basis for their honors theses projects. They have devoted countless hours to meet and record interviews of the veterans because they are passionate about the need to preserve the stories for future generations. Currently, anyone wishing to donate to the ETWMP should contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (903) 886-5712 and specify that their donation go to the East Texas War and Memory Project Excellence Fund. To follow the work of the ETWMP, visit To contact the East Texas War and Memory Project, please send an email to [email protected] or to [email protected]. For more information on Gee Library or to access the digital collection, go to